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How Can Men Help Women?
06 December 2012

As one of five men in a remarkable class of 40 people on Gender and Peacebuilding (http://www.usip.org/education-training/courses/gender-and-peacebuilding), I posed several questions to the women on how men can help women achieve greater involvement, participation, representation in the areas of governance, civil society leadership, and social value creation. 

I would like to ask members of this group (and several other groups) those same questions. – I’ll compile the best responses and make them available to the participating groups. Thank you so much for your experiences, your insights and your interest in helping us find ways to increase the active participation of women in all endeavors!

1) First of all, how do we as men ensure that we do no harm by our involvement in efforts to advance women’s participation? Example: Avoid taking over a project from the women, even if motivated by sincere enthusiasm or eagerness.

2) How can we as men serve as a resource to women in those efforts? Example: Men might provide insights into the attitudes of problem males and suggest strategies for countering their arguments. Also we can take action when other men won’t (i.e., be an example).

3) How can we provide value added by virtue of being male? Example: Providing quiet support by accompanying a woman to her meeting (and not taking it over!) may make other men take her proposal more seriously (even though it shouldn’t matter). We can sometimes force a broader perspective, facilitate a dialogue if necessary.